In honor of this year's One Hundredth Anniversary of the Repose of Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, the Antiochian Heritage Museum recently opened an all-new exhibit about Saint Raphael, which includes an interactive touchscreen presentation. With the support of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, the museum partnered with Wiant Design Works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to create the updated display. The exhibit was unveiled during the meetings of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees held at the Antiochian Village in May.
Titled "Saint Raphael: Scholar and Shepherd," the museum's new touchscreen exhibit offers highlights from the theological thesis which St. Raphael wrote as a young seminarian, and which was recently translated from its original Greek into English by the Rev. Dr. Patrick Viscuso. In addition to excerpts from the thesis, the touchscreen also explores highlights from the life of St. Raphael – from his youth in Damascus through his ministry as a priest and bishop in the United States.
St. Raphael as a Young Scholar
Ten years before St. Raphael began his ministry in America, he was still preparing to become a priest, studying at the prestigious Theological School of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the island of Halki, near present-day Istanbul, Turkey. There, at the age of 25, he penned his theological thesis – in elegant cursive Greek – as a requirement for graduation. His thesis, dated May 1, 1886, outlines Orthodox Christian theology in relation to Roman Catholic and Protestant positions, and reflects his deep theological training as well as his experience living in the Eastern Mediterranean during a period when both Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries were actively trying to convert Orthodox Christians. The passionate and well-researched paper oers us a unique glimpse into the mind of the saint, and shows the depth of his dedication to his Faith. It is an honor for the Antiochian Heritage Museum to be able to share excerpts from St. Raphael's thesis for the first time.
The Translation of St. Raphael's Thesis
Saint Raphael's thesis was only recently translated from its original Greek into English, thanks to the generous gift of time and expertise provided by Rev. Dr. Patrick Viscuso, Professor of Canon Law at the Antiochian House of Studies, and a priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Working from a scan of the original 39-page manuscript, Fr. Patrick first transcribed the cursive Greek handwriting into Greek text, and then translated the complex theological work into English. Later, based on Fr. Patrick's English translation, the thesis was translated into Arabic by Dr. Adnan Trabulsi, a pediatrician and member of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Houston, Texas. Brief excerpts in all four versions – the handwritten Greek, Greek text, English, and Arabic – are presented in the museum's touchscreen exhibit.
Thesis To Be Published
Fr. Patrick Viscuso's English translation and Greek
transcription, accompanied by an extensive introduction
and appendices, is slated for publication later this year,
and will be available through the Antiochian Village
Bookstore. The Arabic translation is included in Dr. Adnan
Trabulsi's new, three-volume publication on the Arabic
works of St. Raphael, which presents many of St.
Raphael's articles, sermons, and teachings, and will certainly be of interest to the Arabic-speaking faithful.
New Digital Resource for Library
In September, during this year's 35th Anniversary celebration of the Antiochian House of Studies, the Antiochian Heritage Library presented a new digital resource that offers the complete text of St. Raphael's thesis in all four language formats: its original handwritten Greek, the Greek text, English, and Arabic. The resource is housed on a dedicated computer at the Antiochian Heritage Library, where scholars may select a preferred language for viewing the manuscript, and then have the option to add another language format for side-by-side comparison. Due to copyright restrictions, this unique digital resource is currently only available on-site at the Antiochian Heritage Library.
We hope you will come visit our Museum and Library to experience our new exhibits and resources! Explore highlights from St. Raphael's life story, as well as the words of his thesis, which – over a hundred years later, and continents away from where they were written – continue to be relevant for all Orthodox Christians living in a western Christian context. Whether you are a scholar, or simply looking for a unique travel destination, the Antiochian Village has something for everyone. Our Conference Center offers updated accommodations, not just for group events, but for anyone who would like to enjoy the scenic Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania in an Orthodox Christian setting. Make the Village a stopover as you travel through the region, or your home-base for exploring the many nearby attractions. The Village is located just six miles north of the historic town of Ligonier, with its charming.